Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 11, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> suarez: the prosecution wrapped up its case against george zimmerman today, charged in the shooting death of trayvon martin, an unarmed teenager. good evening, i'm ray suarez. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the trial, as the judge tells the jury it may consider a verdict of manslaughter instead of second degree murder. >> suarez: then, we continue our series of conversations about immigration reform. tonight, the view of arizona democrat raul grijalva on border security and more. >> sreenivasan: from egypt, lindsey hilsum has the harrowing story of women sexually assaulted in cairo's tahrir square. >> these attacks are planned and sometimes women think that the men coming for them are trying
6:01 pm
to save them from being assaulted but in fact they take them away and attack them again. >> suarez: we update the investigation into the fiery explosion of an oil tanker train that derailed in the canadian province of quebec with 50 people now confirmed or presumed dead. >> sreenivasan: and paul solman goes out of this world and into a virtual one to experience the holy grail of video games. >> so now what am i doing? >> basically you're going to fly around like superman and you'll take off by putting your arms over your head. >> oh, my god! oh, my god! >> suarez: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years.
6:02 pm
bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: the end game began today in a racially charged, nationally watched trial in sanford, florida. at issue: whether george zimmerman committed murder when he shot and killed trayvon martin. the prosecution made its closing arguments, after the judge issued a key ruling on what the
6:03 pm
jury's options will be. >> a teenager is dead. he is dead through no fault of his own. he is dead because another man made assumptions. >> sreenivasan: the final phase of the trial began this afternoon, as prosecutor bernie de la rionda addressed the jury a last time. >> unfortunately this is one of the last photos that will ever be taken of trayvon martin. and that is true because of the actions of one individual, the man before you, the defendant george zimmerman. >> sreenivasan: zimmerman had been on patrol, as a neighborhood watch volunteer, when he spotted 17-year-old
6:04 pm
teen-ager trayvon martin in a gated community-- the night of february 26, last year. zimmerman called 9-1-1. >> sreenivasan: but he did continue trailing martin, and a confrontation erupted. he says he shot martin in self- defense after the teenager attacked him. de la rionda insisted today that zimmerman went looking for trouble. >> why does the defendant get out of car if he thinks this guy is threat. why, why? because he has a gun, he has an equalizer, he's going to take care of it. he's a wannabe cop. he's going to take care of it, he's got a gun and, my god, it is his community. and he's not going to put up with it. >> sreenivasan: from the start, racial overtones catapulted the case to national attention and triggered protests. and in its closing, the prosecution claimed again that zimmerman profiled martin. >> in this particular case, it
6:05 pm
led to death of innocent 17- year-old boy. because this defendant made the wrong assumption. he profiled him as a criminal. he assumed certain things that trayvon was up to no good and that's what led to his death. >> sreenivasan: during the trial, judge debra nelson forbade use of the term racial profiling or any arguments about it. instead, the major conflicts in testimony centered on such issues as who had the upper hand in the fight. yesterday, lawyers on both sides used a foam dummy to demonstrate their version of what happened. a forensic pathologist testified the evidence suggests trayvon martin was on top during the struggle. >> so the wou itself, by the gap by the powder tattooing in
6:06 pm
the face of the contact of the clothing, indicates that this is consistent with mr. zimmerman's account that mr. martin was over him, leaning forward at the time he was shot. >> sreenivasan: but eyewitness accounts varied. some neighbors recall seeing martin on top; others, zimmerman. there were also arguments over who made the cry for help on a 9-1-1 recording during the fight. martin's mother testified it was her son's voice. >> ma'am, that screaming or yelling, do you recognize that?" >> yes. >> and who do you recognize that to be, ma'am? >> trayvon benjamin martin. >> if it was your son in fact screaming as you testified, that
6:07 pm
would suggest that it was mr. zimmerman's fault that led to his death, correct. >> correct. >> sreenivasan: but zimmerman's mother claimed the opposite, saying the scream came from her son. >> what i'm sure is that that's george's voice. that scream is... is... i haven't heard him like that before. the anguish in that scream that he's-- the way that he's screaming it describes to me anguish, fear. i would say terror. >> sreenivasan: in the end, zimmerman chose not to testify in his own behalf. along the way, the judge granted defense requests to allow test results showing martin had trace amounts of marijuana in his system on the night of the shooting. but she barred testimony about martin's past text message records, some of which discussed fighting and guns. and today, she ruled that in addition to the original charge of second degree murder, the
6:08 pm
jury will be allowed to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter. defense closing arguments are set for tomorrow, and then, the case will go to the six-person, all-female jury. >> suarez: we turn to yamiche alcindor who has been following this trial for "usa today" and was in the courtroom today. that have's where you heard the prosecution's closing argument. summarize the summation. what evidence did bernie de la rionda ask the jury to consider in his final shot? >> his overall statements were that trayvon martin was an innocent kid, that he was walking home and that he was doing nothing wrong. so the evidence he used were really the things that trayvon martin was carrying. he talked about the skittles, the iced tea that the country's been talking about for over a year and hi said "these are not weapons." that this was just someone walking homele from the store. he also used trayvon martin's
6:09 pm
body saying that trayvon didn't have blood on his hands. he pointed to d.n.a. evidence that said there was no prints and no d.n.a. found on the gun. so that was find of how he used the evidence but his mainingment was that this was a kid that was walking home and it could have been avoided if george zimmerman hadn't stopped and gotten out of his car. >> suarez: with a charge of second degree murder, the state carries a heavy burden. it has to demonstrate ill will, malicious intent. what could prosecutor de la rionda point to before the jury today that showed that kind of malicious intent? >> well, it was really interesting. prosecutor de la rionda really used george zimmerman's own statements as an outline for his closing argument. he used statements from zimmerman to police in this police walk through as well as on the night of the shootinging. and he also used zimmerman's call to police when he spotted trayvon martin.
6:10 pm
he had the jury listen to george zimmerman say several times -- use the word "a-holes" and "effing punks" and say the people he was talking about, those a-holes after he had shot trayvon martin he said there were people victimizing his neighborhood. this is, of course, after the shooting so the prosecutor really tried to use zimmerman's own words against him and spent a lot of time letting the jury listen to him and letting him almost say the case for himself and almost convict himself in his own words. >> suarez: tomorrow we'll hear the defense's final argument. tell us about the thrust of their case. the same two principals: trayvon martin and george zimmerman. what have have they been telling the jury over the past week? >> the defense's case is that george zimmerman was a good neighbor. that he was involved in his neighborhood, that he started the neighborhood watch because there were real burglaries going on, that he was being a good person, a good citizen and that
6:11 pm
in the middle of him being a good citizen he came upon trayvon martin who overreacted and who punched him, sucker punched him and who then attacked him to the point that he had to use deadly force. so their case is simple: that george zimmerman was doing nothing wrong and that trayvon martin almost -- that trayvon martin really beat him and because of that he had no other choice, no other option than to shoot the teen. >> suarez: earlier in the day the public saw-- but the jury didn't-- very tense exchanges between the attorneys and the judge about what would be allowed in the closing arguments and about what ultimately the jury would be able to consider as far as charges of guilt or innocence. tell us about some of those deliberations. >> so the judge and don west, which is one of zimmerman's attorneys, tensions were really, really high. during several hearings don west would be arguing with the judge
6:12 pm
after she made her ruling. at one point when we were actually in court for 13 hours one day debra nelson, judge debra nelson walked out as don west was still talking. he was still trying to make an argument and she recessed the court and don west kept on talking. today i think i've seen probably the most tense exchange after when she said "i've told you several times and provided you the guidelines to professional behavior in my courtroom and you continue to not follow them." but i don't really see her making the -- using that in any way against the defense. she's still said that the prosecutors couldn't use third degree murder today. she made several different rulings in the defense's favor in terms of the jury instructions. so though she's tense with don west, she's still making rulings in the defense of -- in favor of the defense. >> suarez: during the trial, there are particular witnesses, particular examinations where the jury-- which you were able
6:13 pm
to observe at close quarters-- was engaged? paying more attention? that seemed to be catching their interest? >> i think any time you had the lawyers or people or other witnesses actually acting out what could have happened that was when the jury was most interested. there were times when the jury stood up, even today when prosecutor de la rionda was on a mannequin straddling, asking how could trayvon martin have gotten the gun, i think the jury was very visual, is they really liked being able to see things and seeing all the different possibilities. they were also very attentive whenever video was played for them. but when there was scientific testimony i could see some juries kind of looking around, scanning the room. that's when i think things started getting into the weeds and jurors weren't following along as closely. >> suarez: well, tomorrow, as i mentioned, we'll hear the defense summation but also
6:14 pm
instructions to the jury and there was a lot of contention during the trial about what the jury will be told to consider. what the k you tell us about that? >> i know that there was definitely a lot of back-and-forth. i can tell you that the jury will not be hearing that it's not illegal to follow someone. zimmerman's had really sought to put that in there and the judge decided that she wasn't going to tell the jury that it's not illegal to follow someone. she also said she wouldn't put any language in there about george zimmerman provoking trayvon martin, even though it's still their decision whether or not that's true, she's not going to mention that issue at all. those are the things that i picked up on. >> suarez: thanks for joining us. still to come on the "newshour": a liberal democratic voice on immigration; attacks on women in egypt's tahrir square; unanswered questions after the canadian train crash and a new level for video games.
6:15 pm
but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. house narrowly passed a scaled-down farm bill today, after dropping food stamps from the measure. the vote was 216 to 208. an earlier version failed last month when more than 60 republicans opposed it. they argued for deeper cuts in food stamps, which cost $80 billion a year-- out of total farm spending of $100 billion a year. texas republican pete sessions and others said today food stamps can wait, but farm programs can't. >> in no way is the republican party trying to do anything more in this bill that's on here today other than to bifurcate and to pass pieces of legislation that then can go to conference but we have to find a way to pass the bill. the senate has done their work and finished their work. we are trying to do the same. >> sreenivasan: democrats strongly opposed the stripped-down bill, as did farm groups and even some conservative groups. congressman jim mcgovern of
6:16 pm
massachusetts condemned republicans for putting off action on food stamps. >> it's all about going after americans who are struggling in poverty. it's all about denying the working poor the right to food. so when we're asked to trust republican leaders, to give them the benefit of the doubt, i can't. trust is something that is earned and the behavior of this republican house towards programs that help the working poor, the needy, and the vulnerable has been appalling. >> sreenivasan: the house bill will now have to be reconciled with the senate version, which does include food stamp funds. in iraq, bloodshed marked the beginning of the islamic holy month of ramadan. at least 31 people were killed in a series of attacks. on wednesday evening, gunmen stormed an army checkpoint and a police outpost in anbar province, killing three soldiers and 11 policemen. today, bombings and shootings hit several major cities, adding to the casualties. a moscow court has convicted sergei magnitsky of tax evasion, more than three years after the anti-corruption lawyer died in
6:17 pm
prison. a cage for defendants sat empty as the judge read the verdict. the case sparked u.s. sanctions against russia, and in turn, a kremlin ban on adoptions of russian children by americans. magnitsky was arrested in 2008 after he accused russian officials of stealing state funds. his death prompted allegations that he was beaten and denied medical treatment in prison. wall street surged today after remarks by the chairman of the federal reserve. in a speech last night, ben bernanke said the central bank will continue its stimulus efforts for the forseeable future. the dow jones industrial average shot up 169 points to close near 15,461-- a new, all-time high. the nasdaq rose 57 points to close at 3,578. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to ray. >> suarez: and we continue our look at immigration reform, as g.o.p. leaders repeated for a second day in a row that there's no clear consensus on a path forward for comprehensive legislation. >> we got a broken system that
6:18 pm
needs to be fixed, and i made >> suarez: house speaker john boehner insisted today the vast majority of house republicans do want immigration reform, but on their terms. >> through all the conversations that have occurred, with my own members, with democrat members, it's clear that dealing with this in bite-sized chunks that members can digest and the american people can digest is the smartest way to go. >> suarez: in other words, the house will not take up the comprehensive bill that passed the senate or anything like it. that bill includes a path to citizenship for some 11 million people already in the country illegally. democrats insist on including that step. house republicans have focused instead on border security, but they're under growing pressure to relent on the citizenship question, and, after a two-hour meeting yesterday, they displayed a conference divided. >> there are three categories that those 11 million people go into.
6:19 pm
people that we all agree should remain here, people we all agree should be removed, criminal aliens and so on, and then people who may be in between. >> i made the point that anything that is legalization ends up in citizenship. and if that's the case, i'm opposed to it because it destroys the rule of law. you could never reestablish the rule of law in this country as least with regard to immigration again. >> suarez: this morning, the lead authors of the senate bill, democrat chuck schumer and republican john mccain talked hopefully, after meeting with president obama at the white house. >> once you say doing nothing is not an option, you have to move in a direction to be bipartisan. and once you're bipartisan, you're going to get some progress that can get something done. so again, it's not going to be the same exact thing as we believe, but at the end of the day, hopefully it'll be close enough that we can come to an agreement. >> we are in no way big-footing
6:20 pm
the members of the house of representatives. we'd like to see legislation along the lines of ours, but we can work with them on different pieces of legislation. we want legislation that we can go to conference on, that we can get a majority vote in both houses. >> suarez: house republicans will now consider four separate bills, with a concentration on border security and enforcement of existing laws. none offers the possibility of citizenship. but minority leader nancy pelosi warned today of the consequences of not acting quickly. >> i think delay can create problems, but i'm ever- optimistic. so i believe that we will have immigration reform for the simple reason that the american people want us to have it, and that if it doesn't happen in this year, it's unlikely that it's going to happen in an election year. >> suarez: republicans have
6:21 pm
talked of voting on immigration before the month-long recess that begins in early august. but boehner seemed to leave some wiggle room today. >> i'm much more concerned about doing it right than i am of meeting some deadline. >> suarez: if action on immigration slides to the fall, fiscal battles over the federal budget and debt ceiling could sideline the issue indefinitely. and to the next in our immigration conversations. earlier this week, we talked with house republicans trey gowdy of south carolina and raul labrador of idaho, along with illinois democrat luis gutierrez. tonight, another democrat: arizona's raul grijalva. he is a member of the congressional hispanic caucus, and serves as co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus. i spoke with him yesterday. congressman grijalva, welcome to the program. a lot of attention is being paid to whether republicans will go for the senate bill in the house but i thought since you're co-chair of the progressive caucus we should ask you whether
6:22 pm
democrats in the house are happy with the changes that were made to the bill to get it through senate? >> well, i think a great deal of discomfort, some outright opposition to the search. is amendment that added $30 billion plus, doubled everything that was already in the bill and for many, for environmentalists and people that care about those public land laws-- clean water, clean air-- the waiving of those laws along the border and public lands, people have difficulty with that. the issue of just militarizing the border to an extent that it becomes almost a combat zone will change the texture and the life in the that community forever. i think it's overkill. i think we need to define what security is and i think it
6:23 pm
includes much more components than boots on the ground than drones and helicopters and sensors and towers and fences. it includes much more. but the definition is very narrow. we'll make an effort to try to expand that definition but the bottom line, ray, is that a lot of the swallowing and bitterness of some of these additions by the senator and even some of the components that were in the senate bill before were being swallowed because of the employments of the path to citizenship. >> suarez: you call it a bitter foil swallow. does it still have your vote as written if it came to the house floor? >> if it came to the house floor-- and at this point i have a great deal of discourt with it. i feel that -- i've been reluctant to state what i would do in that situation so we wouldn't marginalize the opportunity to improve it. but a lot will depend on what the republicans do here. if we start to redefine path, the only slow reason for any
6:24 pm
compromise or swallowing any of this has been the millions of people that we would add comfort and protection to. if that starts to leave, quite frankly, there's no compromise. >> suarez: is the path to citizenship-- some path to citizenship-- a necessary version of this bill to get your vote in >> my vote and i think that great number of democrats. the sentiment i'm giving you, ray, about we don't like this part, we don't like that part is pretty prevalent, but, you know the golden opportunity to do something about these families-- and i represent 350 miles of border, communities all those communities and constantly everyday dealing with those families, the split families, children left in foster care because their parents are gone. i mean, the human toll sometimes makes you -- makes you believe
6:25 pm
that that is -- has to be the ultimate goal and if that path isn't there then what are we settling for? >> suarez: earlier in the week congressman trey gowdy, your republican colleague from south carolina was on this program and he said the path to citizenship is not as important to him as securing the border right now because unless you secure the border you end up back in the same problem we're in now with newly legalized residents and more people coming over the border trying to achieve that status. how do you reply to that? >> i think that was the senate bill. there's e-verify that's going to make a demand of employers that people must have the proper documentation otherwise the penalties on those employers that hire unauthorized people is going to be huge. beyond that, you know, people are coming out of the shadows, declaring themselves, starting that process, family unification
6:26 pm
much -- 40% of the people that are right now in this country overstayed their work visas or overstayed their visas and, as you seal this border and as you try to feel that the only way you can provide immigration reform is by a zero-tolerance secure border fences, border patrol agents shoulder to shoulder, that's naive thinking. that's not the reality of the border. and the reality of the economy of the nation and this world, the affect of poverty, there's root causes here and nearly building the fences. symbolism, it's pandering and good political rhetoric but it is not going to fix or accommodate the issue that we're dealing with with here which is that the people that are here already and what do you do about them? he doesn't answer that question.
6:27 pm
and his idea of keeping people here with a provisional legal status is something that's so un-american. tv second-class of workers and people in this country with no access to citizenship and, more importantly, with a different set of rights and protections than the rest of us have. i don't think that's american. i don't think -- we've never been about that. i think he misses the point on that value. but securing the border from somebody from a state that doesn't have to deal with it on a daily basis it's not just overreach, i think it's oversimplification. >> suarez: so very, very quickly before we go, congressman. is there a compromise floating out thereto that will leave people like congressman gowdy satisfied about the border and its security and leave the members of your progressive caucus satisfied that you've done well by the people who are here struggling trying to get legal status? >> yeah, i think a path has to be integral. redefining what you mean by
6:28 pm
security so that we make a comprehensive so the issues that the gentleman from south carolina is concerned about we use part of security has to be economic development. six million jobs in this country depend on direct trade import and export from mexico. in the country. and so this is about jobs, this is about a vitality that we need in the border lands in terms of an economy. we need to redefine that. i think that's the compromise that you expand the definition of security from the simple on the stuff that we're talking about right now-- fences and boots-- to the more complex and lasting solutions which is the economic development, good ports of entries, increased trade, increased visitorship. it's a win-win for everybody. and if there was an opportunity to sit down and have a rational discussion without posturing i think that's the potential we could compromise. >> suarez: congressman raul
6:29 pm
grijalva of arizona, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, ray, appreciate it. >> suarez: all of our conversations with senators and house members are archived on our immigration page. also there, learn more about what's in the legislation. >> sreenivasan: now, to egypt, among the demonstrators who jam tahrir square every day are hundreds of women. they face a very disturbing threat, from gangs of men who sexually assault female protesters. lindsey hilsum of "independent television news" reports from cairo. and a warning: you may find some of the details and the images in her story distressing. >> reporter: such sweet boys full of energy and fun. they've just been chasing a young woman up the street. the interviewer asks them why. "if a lady is respectable, no one will harass her," says a kid in red. the others pile in. "why do they wear short skirts or tight trousers?
6:30 pm
some young women when we flirt with them smile." that's how it starts. this is how it ends. a mob attacks a young woman on a corner of tahrir square. we've disguised her identity which was one of more than a hundred assaults in tahrir square during last week's demonstrations. this is the very place. women still come to the square but it's dangerous. this corner of tahrir square has become notorious for attacks on women. i can only come here tonight because it's almost empty because of ramadan and people are praying. and i've got a whistle to protect me and an alarm and a whole crew of people around me. that's not the case for many women who come here. and the most horrific thing i've heard is that these attacks are planned and sometimes women think that the men coming for them are trying to save them from being assaulted but in fact they take them away and attack them again.
6:31 pm
a long darning needle. janet abdel aleen and her group of activists distribute the needles to women for self defense. she and her colleague nada were assaulted in tahrir square last november. >> ( translated ): they were putting their hands into my pants and into nada's pants and inside my blouse touching me everywhere. there were about 15 to 20 people who said they were trying to protect us but they suddenly started to attack us. >> reporter: today the muslim brotherhood are on the streets. the women tell me it's the secularists in tahrir square not religious men who do it. >> no, that's in tahrir square. not here. 120 women get raped in tahrir square because i don't know which kind of people is going to tahrir square. maybe it's the people they free them when they open prisons. >> reporter: but both political factions have tried to intimidate women off the streets at different times.
6:32 pm
and the muslim brotherhood blocked a law on violence against women. law and order collapsed under their rule so voluntary groups have had to step in. >> we're doing the job of the police. we're doing the job of people who are in power who should be responsible for this. >> reporter: zeinab is planning to join her male colleagues intervening to save women being attacked in tahrir square. because the victims now fear that rescuers may in fact turn out to be rapists. >> i reached the point where i don't get scared anymore. now when someone touches me when i'm trying to not intervene or patrolling at least or anything like, it's never fine. i know it's part of the job. it's something you cannot prevent for now but when it comes to intervening, i saw cases. i saw victims and it's traumatizing and i feel them and i feel that it's not, you cannot trust a man anymore.
6:33 pm
>> reporter: poverty, unemployment, segregation of the sexes. many factors contribute to endemic sexual harassment in egypt. the deprivation in social attitudes are not the only causes. >> ( translated ): the problem is, there's no law against this. people know if they go into the square and touch women they will not be punished. also these women are blamed for being harassed. we shouldn't blame women for this. >> reporter: in tahrir square they're holding ramadan prayers just next to the place where women are frequently raped. mob assault and escalation of harassment are the unintended consequence of a revolution that was meant to liberate egyptians- - men and women alike. >> suarez: the muslim brotherhood and other groups are calling for a "million man" demonstration tomorrow in cairo. it's aim is to protest president morsi's ouster and clashes with
6:34 pm
egypt's military that left more than 50 people dead. >> sreenivasan: nearly a week after a runaway train derailed and triggered an enormous explosion in a tiny town in canada, there are growing questions and anger about what led to the tragedy. all this week, crews have searched the burned out wreckage in the little town of lac- megantic. authorities believe the final death toll will reach 50, making it canada's worst railway disaster in nearly 150 years. it began early saturday, with plumes of black smoke and fire, after a runaway train hauling crude oil rolled down a seven mile incline. the derailed derailed in the center of town, where at least five cars exploded, burning down 30 buildings. >> it was like a day light. it came so light. it was like the sun light and i heard a lot of detonations.
6:35 pm
>> sreenivasan: yesterday edward burkhardt, chairman of the company that owns montreal, maine and atlantic railway , traveled to lac-megantic for the first time since the disaster. >> burkhardt! >> sreenivasan: he faced angry, grieving townspeople, and sounded a note of contrition. >> i would feel the same way if something like this happened in my community. beyond that, i don't know what to say. >> sreenivasan: burkhardt has also come under sharp criticism from quebec premier pauline marois, who visited lac megantic today. >> ( translated ): it seems to me that goes without saying. he should have been there to better communicate with the population. they have many questions to ask and also with the municipal authorities they have all kinds of questions. >> sreenivasan: in the meantime, it's still unclear what caused the disaster. the canadian transportation safety board says just an hour before the wreck, the train was in a nearby town, when an engine
6:36 pm
providing pressure to the air brakes caught fire. local firemen responded. >> the engine was shut down at about midnight. the fire was extinguished. and the train starts to move at approximately 00:56 after midnight. >> sreenivasan: burkhardt suggested yesterday that the firefighters apparently changed switches in the train's cab. >> somebody tampered with it. we later found out, we didn't know at the time, that it was the nante's fire department. did they do this maliciously or on purpose? absolutely not. they did what they thought was correct. it was an important causal factor in this whole thing. >> sreenivasan: with its air brakes disabled, the train was now dependent on manual, hand brakes. but burkhardt says he believes the train's engineer failed to set them properly. >> we think he applied some hand brakes, the question is did he apply enough of them? he's told us that he applied 11 hand brakes and our general
6:37 pm
feeling is that that's not-- now, that that is not true. initially, we took him at his word. >> sreenivasan: the engineer has not spoken publicly. but quebec police have now opened a criminal investigation into the derailment. nancy wood is an anchor with the canadian broadcasing corporation who is covering this story. she joins us from montreal. thanks for being with us. let's start with an update on the investigation. what's the latest that you have tonight? >> well, we know that the police have told us now there are 24 confirmed dead. but they have told the families and the friends of that small town of about 2,000 that the 50 people who are officially missing are dead. it's just that as they come across remains they can now say "we have 24." and they have released the identity of the first person officially, that's a 93-year-old woman. her family says she wanted to stay in her home, she was quite spry and lively but not spry you
6:38 pm
have no run that fast. as it happened at 1:00 in the morning, unless you were awake, you had no chance of getting out and the people who were in a small cafe, of course, couldn't get out quickly enough. but some people did manage to run. others like this woman, no. and as for the investigation, you were asking me about, that i should go back to that. they are interviewing people. they interviewed edward burkhardt. they are treating the scene as a crime scene and that's why they kept people away from it for so long. and that made people in the community very frustrated because they wanted to see it. but they're not telling us details of what kind of criminal investigation. it could be criminal negligence, it could be anything else but they're not telling us. >> sreenivasan: is it routine for it to be a criminal investigation. does it give them different prix seed yurl options? why would they do that? >> well, i think's nothing routine about this kind of disaster and so even the provincial police force is saying they have never dealt with this magnitude of disaster with 50 people killed in a town
6:39 pm
of 2,000 and basically the downtown of this place obliterated. so clearly something went wrong and i guess they've decided they're going to treat it as criminal but they won't tell us why. >> suarez: let's talk about this engineer and the brakes question. it's just kind of coming into the light now that there was a problem with the train ahead of time. is this a he said/she said of the fire department versus the c.e.o.? >> what's interesting is the first we heard from edward burkhardt was much earlier in the week where he clearly put the blame on the town's fire department and the fire department hit right back. they said absolutely not, there was a fire, there have been several fires on m.m.a. trains over the last few years, we came in, we extinguished the fire, we called the railway. the railway sent personnel and we left that train in its place with personnel on board then
6:40 pm
m.m.a. said there'd been tampering with the train and now they're saying it was the fire department that disengaged the air break and the engineer should have set the hand brakes and the engineer said he did. although he's vanished. he's now not working, off work and not talking to anybody. >> sreenivasan: is it usual for there to be just one engineer on a train like this? >> no. m.m.a. is one of two railroads that has permission to operate with single-person crews. edward burkhardt has a reputation in the rail industry as someone who makes railroads more efficient. and more efficient usually means cost cutting and this is the case. he cut salaries by 40% when he took over this railroad in 2003 and he did have single-manned crews and much more remote controlled devices to make up for that. he said it's more efficient. in fact he was saying yesterday it's safer because there's fewer distraction when there's only one person. but in this case the engineer had got off the train, had gone
6:41 pm
to bed in that town and he was saying that the fire department should have gone and woken up the engineer and brought them to the train. the fire department says "this is your railroad. we put the fire out, we called the railroad. if anybody is going to call the engineer, it should be you. so it's turning into a he said; she said but we're not hearing from the engineer in question. >> sreenivasan: we're hearing syriaing in the crowd of edward burkhardt. is this just trust federation the locals. >> you know what's odd about this is that the president and c.e.o. of montreal main and atlantic railways has been in the town since saturday but he's been ig cog knee toe. he hasn't talked to people. he was very under the radar. so there was nobody from the company people could see. it's hard to imagine how you could work something out. how you could come in when your
6:42 pm
company has done this to a town and win people over. i would say it's next to impossible. but the fact that they were not visible for so long, they they blamed other people and that they came in and were so improvised he was just kind of walking down the street with reporters and he tried to give a news conference but it turned into a gigantic scrum. the police had to stop people from heckling. and it wasn't the whole town that was heckling him, it was a few people who were very frustrated and angry but lot of people were just watching and crying as he tried to explain what happened. >> sreenivasan: the american media is dipping in and out of this story. but you're there. is this transcending across canada? has this sparked a national conversation about safety and transport? >> yeah. and you know what the conversation is? i know you have the same conversation in the states is oil pipelines and there is a push on to have more pipelines across canada and people don't like the idea of pipelines. but this has led to the discussion about well, would you
6:43 pm
rather it was by rail? on old tracks with small companies? and the m.m.a.'s safety record is not a good safety record so it's sparked that debate. it has people wondering what is going through our town at 1:00 in the morning? do we know what the vifk? it is literally has people talking about edward burkhardt by name and hand brakes and air brakes and it certainly has affected canadians across the country. >> sreenivasan: nancy wood from the canadian broadcasting corporation. thanks so much. >> suarez: finally tonight, video games, virtual reality and how changes in those technologies may be connected with economic behavior. "newshour" economics correspondent paul solman and paul's avatar are our guides, part of his ongoing reporting: "making sense of financial news." and yes, you should know his story contains some video game violence.
6:44 pm
>> oh gosh. oh my gosh! >> reporter: videogames: one of the worlds fastest-growing industries, with more than $80 billion a year in revenues now, more than twice that of movies. >> the feeling of dropping is really awesome. >> reporter: and at a recent developers conference in san franciso, the race was on to try out a breakthrough that could take the industry to an entirely new level. >> this is insane. >> reporter: though not yet ready for retail-- it's expected to sell for about $300-- the oculus rift is already being hailed as the holy grail of gaming: a lightweight, affordable headset to deliver totally immersive virtual reality or v.r.. >> a lot of us got into the game industry to build virtual worlds and to explore, build and explore deep places. and being able to step inside those places for the first time is incredibly exciting.
6:45 pm
>> reporter: nate mitchell, oculus v.r.'s 25-year old vice president, gave me a sneak peak at the headset, driving a mech-- a sort of weaponized robot-- in a virtual reality version of the popular post-apocalypse game "hawken." up, up, up, up up. ooh, yeah. this is pretty cool, this is the split screen images-- what i'm seeing in each eye-- don't come close to capturing the experience. but be-goggled, i was virtually within "hawken's" mad max world there we go. got the tower. pretty mild for video game violence. but still... do you worry about possible misuse or abuse of this technology? >> there's always going to be people that use technology in weird ways, that you don't want to tap into. but to be honest, you know, our we try to leave it to developers to choose the content they're building. and people to choose what they want to play.
6:46 pm
>> reporter: but what will they choose? >> we are entering an era that is unprecedented in human history. >> reporter: jeremy bailenson runs stanford university's virtual human interaction lab. while part of the lab's mission is to perfect the technology, its main purpose is to get a handle on v.r.'s psychological effects, now that it's about to hit the consumer mass market. >> in this world in which you can transform the self and have any experience that an animator can fathom, what are the consequences to the self; what are the consequences to society. >> reporter: is that as radical a change as your language suggests? >> yes. we cannot underestimate how radical this change is. video game violence research shows that if you put somebody in a virtual scene that's nasty and violent, they behave more aggressively in the physical world. >> what we need to do is to think about the wonderful things we can do in these virtual
6:47 pm
worlds that can make the world a better place. >> reporter: so bailenson has dedicated his stanford lab to he's designing experiments to try to do just that. first step for putting a new subject into those experiments: an alternate reality alter ego-- a virtually real economics correspondent. using high-resolution photos, lab manager cody karutz is creating a digital double to fool my brain into-- ultimately- - changing my behavior. >> for the first time ever you get to see yourself in the third person as if in a mirror except we control the mirror. >> reporter: oh my god, that is so weird. >> cody, can you give me dancing? >> reporter: yes, at first blush, this seems a lark. but placing a convincing avatar in a persuasive yet manipulable environment was designed for an economic purpose: getting young people to save. >> this study looked at taking
6:48 pm
an 18-year-old college kid or a and transforms them into the body of someone who's older. >> reporter: specifically, into the body or future self of a 65- year-old, which in my case, the study was designed to see if bonding with their senior selves would cause kids to salt away money for retirement. if i'm a kid looking at the older version of me, the idea is that i'm making a non-conscious connection that will stay with me and change my behavior. >> exactly. you can tell someone you will be older some day but the visceral experience of seeing your image in the mirror as older than you are causes this deep connection to your future self and this is what drives future savings behavior. >> reporter: in fact, in a 2011 paper, bailenson and others reported that those who had seen their future selves in the virtual mirror subsequently put twice as much money into a savings account as those who hadn't. and the research continues.
6:49 pm
>> in future studies, were actually going to build scenarios that show you what life would be like when you're older when you don't have money. so a very visceral reminder of what poverty would be like. >> reporter: the great hope for such future self experimentation is that it would help all subjects to save more and succeed. could that help behaviorally rewire those who have trouble acting as economically as their more prosperous peers, as evidenced by the famous marshmallow test? kids who resisted the temptation to eat one treat for 15 minutes got two treats as a reward. test saved more and prospered as adults. we put the question to famous harvard child psychologist jerome kagan: could a virtual reality experience or perhaps a specially designed game have the same effect? >> a lot of these are novelty effects. a lot of these experiments in the literature about you bring someone in and you show them what its like to be old and you say, now, how much money would
6:50 pm
you like to get for your retirement? and they give a little more money. but, by the time you're four you understand the difference between fantasy and real life. when you're in a laboratory >> reporter: well, but wait, virtual reality, the very name suggests that you cant really or may not really be able to distinguish between the game experience and real life. >> i doubt that. you can always distinguish between being in a virtual reality laboratory and then leaving, closing the door, and going outside. >> reporter: not so, says jeremy bailenson. >> virtual experiences are very intense and the effects of them can carry over to the real world.
6:51 pm
ah! ( laughter ) that's unbelievable bailenson says research is beginning to show that virtual reality-- v.r.-- can have a deep and long lasting effect on behavior -beyond saving for retirement. >> so now i'm underwater and i'm looking around and seeing all the beautiful fish. >> reporter: in experiments, swimming with the fishes-- in water that turns from fair to foul-- makes people think twice about using plastic bags, which might otherwise wind up in the great garbage patch that's polluting the pacific ocean. and how about sawing down a virtual tree? on average, each american requires two virgin trees for a lifetime of pampering with that
6:52 pm
squeezably soft, nonrecycled toilet paper. the feeling of felling a giant tree, however, can suffice to make some switch, maybe even permanently, to the recycled stuff. >> i get calls from people months, months after experiencing what you just experienced saying i never walk down this supermarket aisle without thinking about cutting down this tree. >> reporter: and while we're on the subject of environmental awareness... >> we have people get on all fours. >> reporter: bailenson is now working on a study that has people experience being cows. and what are you doing this for? >> we're trying to make a more visceral connection between and understanding about where your meat comes from and how your and you're feeling what it's like to be led to slaughter. >> reporter: led to slaughter? >> you're led to slaughter, yes. and it's the idea of giving somebody a bigger connection to the process of eating meat. >> reporter: but wait a second, now we're getting to clockwork orange. you're creating an aversive experience that is trying to rewire me. >> i think v.r. is like uranium.
6:53 pm
it can heat homes or it can destroy nations. so it is absolutely scary and we >> reporter: the power to destroy, said bailenson, lie not in his experiments, vetted by stanford's institutional review board, but in the unexamined spread of commercial virtual reality, where the lowest common denominator is likely to win. >> these experiences we give you in this lab, for example, cutting down a virtual tree, swimming through a polluted intense, and kids are playing these for hours a day. my job is to create virtual experiences that can help, and also to inoculate the world to understand that when you have these virtual experiences, they're not free. they change the way you think about yourself. >> reporter: or, about your future self. for better or worse. >> sreenivasan: wonder what paul would look like if his image was morphed with the face of president obama or mitt romney? take a look on our website. also there, read more from paul's conversation with jeremy bailenson on how virtual reality could influence political
6:54 pm
choices. >> suarez: again, the major developments of the day: the prosecution wrapped up its case against george zimmerman, charged in the shooting death of trayvon martin, an unarmed teenager, in sanford, florida. house republicans pushed through a scaled-down farm bill after delaying action on food stamps. and in iraq, 40 or more people were killed in a series of bombings and shootings as the muslim holy month of ramadan began. >> sreenivasan: and some economic stories to find online. we reported the dow soared today, but one feisty financial economist predicts a major market drop in the near future. find that on making sense. also there, just how important is speed to high-frequency stock trading? traders who pay extra to get data two milli-seconds ahead of others can end up with a significant advantage. plus, a follow-up to our story about how reading jane austen can help us understand game theory. economist michael cheh responds to your comments.
6:55 pm
all that and more is on our website >> suarez: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm ray suarez. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at
6:56 pm
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie gharib brought to you by. >> sailing through the heart of historic cities and landscapes on a river you get close to iconic landmarks, to local life, to cultural treasures. viking river cruises, exploring the world in comfort. record territory, ben bernanke sparks a rally that pushes stocks to all-time highs. so where are the best opportunities now? >> pain at the pump, when you pull up to fill up, don't be surprised if you have to pay up. gas prices are rising and predicted to go higher but for how long? >> and rip off from a multimillion dollar house to the big house, we have the story of a woman who defrauded taxpayers like you in a medicare scheme so brazen, it's hard to belie.